Sticking with Me

I have read or heard several statements lately that have stuck with me.

Professor to the Sticks
The Week Magazine, November 7: "A Colombian politician escaped from the FARC rebel group this week when one of his captors defected. Oscar Tulio Lizcano, an economist and member of Congress, had been held for eight years in Columbia's jungles, where his kidnappers kept him in almost total isolation. He said he stayed sane by talking to sticks he stuck in the ground. "I gave them names and they were my students," he said. "I gave lectures on the history of the First World War."
Unbelievable. I have reread this short news brief a hundred times this week. What strength this man had. Each time I read it I am reminded of my parents. They have always taught us to be survivors and to be strong; to do whatever it takes to stay alive if anything ever happens to us (including gouging someones eyeballs out, de-membering their members, and screaming until we are dad is in the military and has three daughters, what can I say?).

I can imagine my mom being held captive in the woods. She would have every tree and stick named and she would teach them all about the Bible and the beauty of the world and she would have story time everyday. She might make them memorize scripture verses and learn Spanish too. And there would be days she crawled into a ball and wanted to die, but she's the kind of person that would never give up. She would survive and maybe even find some strain of joy in the midst of it.

Dad taught us to be physically prepared; but mom made us believe that we could actually survive and endure.

I guess I am just awe-struck by the human spirit and our ability to adapt, survive, and still live with some semblance of sanity in the midst of such disaster. And in a strange way I am so proud of this man, who I will never meet, for not not giving up. For being a professor to the sticks.
The Obvious Unraveled
Oprah Magazine, October 2008: "Respect your clients."
I am not sure who said it and I already threw my magazine away, but I remember stopping in my tracks when one of the female business owners (a fashion designer) said that you have to respect your clients. Well, duh.
But then some guilt descended upon me. Who are my clients? People at shows. And do I sometimes pass judgement on people at shows and give them no respect in my heart? Yes, I do. I wish I didn't, but honestly I do. Sometimes we play shows and I look at the people walking in or listen to the people in the audience and I think, "the stereotype of this state or this denomination or this group of people is so accurate." And in my heart, I rob them of my respect.
In reality, no matter what stereotypes I have in my mind, and whether they are accurate or not, does not take away from the basic dignity and value of each person that I meet. They are all uniquely made and known... and, hold on, LIKED by God. Or as our woman's pastor says, "God prefers them and enjoys their company." To which I thought...are you sure?
Truly respecting the people that I serve seems obvious. Everyone deserves respect. But just because it is obvious doesn't mean it's how I live. So there I sat trying to leisurely search for Christmas gifts and holiday table decorations and I was slapped in the face with a quote that convicted me like crazy. I do not always respect those I serve. Then I had to look at my dirty inner thoughts and decide what to do with them in light of Christ.

Jeez... can't I just Christmas shop in peace???

Leave it to Oprah, or the Holy Spirit popping out of the magazine pages of Oprah, to unravel the obvious for me.

A small part of a letter my mother-in-law forwarded me yesterday written by her best friend, November 14:

"My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. The words to that old, familiar hymn now holds special memories for me. As we were having to say our forever goodbyes last Saturday, I watched my father-in-law sing that to his bride of 57 years, strong, and without a tear. Then he said…“Now when I get there… will join me on the chorus and we will finish it together!'"

Do I have to say anything?

Keep track of those small comments, quotes, and phrases that seem to repeat themselves in your mind. They might just make you think, smile, or confess...even if they do come from an unlikely source.